Tasha Kai scored an 88th minute goal tonight (Photo by Kelly L. Cox, ISI Photos).
Pair of Sky Blue FC Tallies Lead to Three Points on the Road
Hayward, Calif. (Sunday, June 27, 2010) – Sky Blue FC (5-4-2, 17 points) hit the road for a crucial pairing with FC Gold Pride (7-3-1, 22 points) tonight at Pioneer Stadium in Central California, and an inspired effort led the team to a critical three points and 2-0 victory. Goalkeeper Karen Bardsley recorded her fifth shutout of the year in this win over the top-ranked side in Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS), with Rosana and Tasha Kai providing the two goals scored in the match.
“We played very disciplined and cohesively tonight,” Sky Blue FC head coach Pauliina Miettinen said. “The communication was very good between our players, and we got another solid game from our back line. All of these things are important when you play against a great team like FC Gold Pride, and I am very proud of the effort we put forth tonight.”
Miettinen shook up the Sky Blue FC starting formation today, getting things underway with a 4-1-4-1 formation at the opening whistle. At the top of the attack was Brazilian playmaker Rosana, who was able to find some creases in the FC Gold Pride back line to cause some first half havoc. Her best opportunity of the half came at the midway point when she sacrificed her body on a diving header of a ball sent to her by midfielder Heather O’Reilly. While the effort was determined, the attempt came up just short and was cleaned up by FC Gold Pride netminder Nicole Barnhart.
The best chance of the half for Sky Blue FC came around the 20-minute mark when midfielder Yael Averbuch hustled onto a ball on the right side of the box and dished it to the left flank where Finnish international Laura Kalmari had a wide open look at the net. Kalmari then one-touched the distribution, but she was unable to put a solid strike on the ball.
While Sky Blue FC played very effectively throughout the opening 45 minutes, FC Gold Pride was able to match its effort, and the game remained scoreless when the whistle was blown for intermission.
The deadlock in this match finally ended in the 58th minute when O’Reilly raced down the right flank and sent a cross to the far post. After seeing where the attempt was headed, Rosana sprinted through the middle of the box and put a brilliant diving header on the feed. The ball was struck soundly and immediately charged into the goal to give the visiting side a 1-0 advantage. The notch was the third straight game that has seen Rosana tally a goal on the score sheet.
“As soon as Heather crossed that ball, I knew Rosana would score,” Miettinen stated. “She is a great header, and she proved it on that goal.”
FC Gold Pride came with a fast and furious effort following that go-ahead score, and Bardsley and her back line matched that intensity on their end. In the center of the defense was Christie Rampone and Daphne Koster, with Meghan Schnur and Brittany Taylor flanking them to the side. Along with Bardsley, the entire group did a great job supporting their midfield and clearing away any danger.
Sky Blue FC was able to put this game on ice in the 88th minute after some fancy footwork from Swedish international Jessica Landstrom. After receiving a ball in the center of the pitch, she immediately turned her momentum upfield and sent a ball forward to a streaking Kai. The Hawaiian speedster one-touched the feed forward and sped into a 1v1 situation with Barnhart. Before Barnhart had the opportunity to make a move on Kai, she struck the ball well to the right side of the frame to make the count 2-0 in favor of her squad.
With victory just minutes away at that point, Sky Blue FC buckled down to hold on for the ever-important three points.
Following this Wednesday’s WPS All-Star Game, which will air live on Fox Soccer Channel, Sky Blue FC will return to action on Wednesday, July 7th, when the team hosts the Washington Freedom at Yurcak Field in Piscataway. Kickoff for that match will be 7:00 p.m. with tickets available now by calling 1-888-SBFC-TIX.